So, you have a gorgeous chewing, yapping, sleeping, playing, eating puppy you have totally fallen in love with. And you’re treasuring every moment, even the messy ones, and loving being a pet parent. The best pet parent , eh?  We thought so.

But this little one grows by the minute, it seems, and you’re wondering if the outside garden will be big enough and if the hi-tech doggy bed you want to invest in will be too small in a few months.

It’s especially pertinent if you have a mixed breed mutt or aren’t sure of its exact age or background. Perhaps s/he’ll always be your baby, but it helps to know beforehand what size your fully-grown dog might be.

Dog Ideas advises that the “general rule of thumb to tell how big your mutt will get is that an adult dog is nearly 4 times the height and weight of the puppy at 4 months of age.”[1] When deciding if the pup is small, medium or large-size and projecting its growth accordingly, they have a few suggestions:

  1. Ask your vet – their knowledge and experience mean they can give you an informed, more accurate and educated estimate.
  2. Look at the mama and papa dogs. This can help you identify traits that point to specific breeds, which is helpful with cross breeds.
  3. The coat has clues. The hairstyle of your little yapper can help you figure out what breeds are in its blood, and how big it might eventually be.

You can also

  1. Look for saggy skin. “If you catch a glimpse of loose skin in the body of your puppy,” KindaPets advises, “it’s probably because he will grow into it in the future. Large saggy skin bags are signs of future growth. Small loose skin bags indicate the presence of smaller breeds. Again, this can also be affected by the DNA of the puppy to some extent.“[2]
  2. Paws for thought.  Those cute, oversized pup paws have secrets to tell, so look at the ratio of their size relative to the rest of their body (but bear in mind that some breeds have unusual ratios). “Larger breeds will have larger paws to support the height and weight”notes Dog Appy[3].
  3. Do a doggy DNA test to determine its breed or mix. Bear in mind that, as Pet Health Care Magazine points out, “this is a difficult question to answer accurately in any cross breed even if the DNA profile is known.”[1] It’s better than judging from the outside, of course.


“But am I BIG now?”


When is a puppy no longer a puppy? Weight, height, growth rate and life stage all play into it.

“On average, small breeds typically stop growing by the time they reach 6 to 8 months of age,” K9 of Mine advises, “but giant breeds grow until they are 12 to 18 months old.”[2]

“If you’re wondering approximately how much weight your puppy should gain per week,” suggests Fido Savvy, “and you know whether he’s a small/medium/large/giant breed then these figures are a good rule of thumb: Tiny and toy breed puppies – approximately 140 grams per week. Small breed puppies – approximately 280 grams per week.”[3]


Rearing a Runt?


If you fell for the weakest, smallest (and cutest) one of the litter, you may have a critter that struggles some. Or not. “Sometimes a runt is the smallest,” cautions the Happy Puppy Site, “but healthy, sibling. But some runts are dangerously underweight, and this can be caused, or accompanied, by very real health problems. Not every runt puppy will make it, but those that do will have a special story for the rest of their lives.”[4]

If you have all the info you need, try this puppy growth chart.